Sessions memo says Title VII doesn't bar discrimination against transgender people

Sessions memo says Title VII doesn't bar discrimination against transgender people

Sessions memo says Title VII doesn't bar discrimination against transgender people

Trump promised to repeal the Johnson Amendment during his presidential campaign and the guidance is part of an executive order Trump signed in May saying the executive branch would "vigorously" enforce religious freedom laws. Just because or service or benefit is denied due to the granting of a religious exemption does not "render an exemption unavailable", Sessions contends.

In essence, it says that religious rights trump civil rights.

"Except in the narrowest circumstances, no one should be forced to choose between living out his or her faith and complying with federal law", the statement reads.

The Deputy Legal Director at the ACLU stated: "it is countenancing discrimination".

In another about-face from the Trump administration, Jeff Sessions issued a memo two days ago stating that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (which bans workplace discrimination on the basis of sex) does not protect individuals against discrimination on the basis of "gender identity per se, including discrimination against transgender individuals".

"The Department of Justice can not expand the law beyond what Congress has provided", DOJ spokesperson Devin O'Malley said.

These principles recognize religious freedom as "an important, fundamental right" expressly protected by the Constitution and by federal law. "Federal agencies, government contractors, and grant recipients should not be permitted to discriminate simply by citing a religious belief for doing so".

Also included in the guidance is a section asserting religious organization acting on their beliefs shouldn't be penalized in competition for federal contracts.

Also on Friday, the Department of Justice announced a religious freedom guidance that was ordered by President Trump in his May 4 executive order on religious freedom.

A Justice Department official said Thursday the department hasn't decided if those grants will also be tied to immigration policies. Principle 2 states, "The free exercise of religion includes the right to act or not to act in accordance with one's religious beliefs", and that reference to not acting is the exact argument that has been used in countless cases where businesses and organizations have refused to serve LGBTQ people due to their religious beliefs.

Sessions' memo explains Title VII expressly prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex but makes no reference to gender, and that courts have interpreted "sex" to mean biologically male or female.

'It opens the door for discrimination in the workplace and public services, flying in the face of the majority of Americans of whom over 70 percent believe laws should protect LGBTQ people from discrimination, ' Isaacs said. "But the freedom of religion does not give people the right to impose their beliefs on others, to harm others, or to discriminate". That's why Congress must pass the Equality Act to protect all members of the LGBT community.

It's the latest move by the Trump administration as it enacts its tough-on-crime agenda and a cornerstone of Sessions' promised crackdown on violence.

Because of a new interim final rule announced October 6 by the Trump administration, clients of First Liberty are now exempt from the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate, which forced businesses, ministries, and other non-profit organizations to reject their religious beliefs and moral convictions or violate the law. It would truly gut federal non-discrimination protections for transgender persons. As an example, it cites the Supreme Court's limited ruling in Trinity Lutheran Church striking down a state requirement that government funds for playground improvement not go directly to churches. Agencies like the State Department, where many employees have historically been reticent to talk about the role religion in worldwide problems, could be affected by this, Destro said.

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